Sunday, January 30, 2011

Museu de História Natural

Saturday, Tyree and I visited the Museu de Historia Natural. It was an eerie experience of colonial gothic delight. Tyree was a great guide to this creepy place. This, he explained, is what biology used to be all about: taxidermy. Hunters used to bring specimens to scientists, who would then preserve them, study them, put them into catergories and then into boxes and jars. In its intentions, this museum is not so different from the Smithsonian or the Natural History Museum in New York. They too have similar dioramas of animals frozen in time - although far better preserved. (This museum in not airconditioned.) I read that the museum was originally founded in 1938 at the Fortaleza, and was moved to its present location in 1956. Yet, I was wrong to think that everything was just as the Portuguese had left it in 1974. We saw a dolphin skeleton dated 2001 and evidence that school children had recently been on a field trip there.

A painting we found around a corner, ripped and covered in dust.

No information accompanied this dinosaur skeleton.

A live mammal, a rare creature in this museum.

Some creepy monkeys.

An exhibit on trash and the wonderful things you can do with it.

Sun fish, peixe da lua in Portuguese.

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